Norbert Steinhauser/SAP SE

Sapphire 2019: Plattner vaunts public cloud as SAP future

At SapphireNow 2019 in Orlando, Florida, SAP co-founder and chair Hasso Plattner said public cloud is the future as raft of Hana database and analytics enhancements announced

Hasso Plattner, co-founder and chair of SAP, used the second day keynote at SapphireNow to outline a rejuvenation of the supplier’s Hana database platform.

While CEO Bill McDermott had dubbed acquisition Qualtrics’ technology as an “elixir of change”, Plattner riffed on the theme of the elixir of youth.

“We are dancing again,” he said of a younger generation of SAP cadres who are more prominent at this year’s conference, in the wake of a recent slew of high-profile senior management departures, such as Bernd Leukert and Robert Enslin.

One such new-generation executive, Gerrit Kazmaier, senior vice-president of SAP analytics and database and data management, presented on-stage with Plattner, as the company announced a raft of enhancements around Hana.

Plattner said he was proud that, following the radical company restructure, the senior management team at SAP, which covers product strategy and development, were of the “same age profile” as their counterparts at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

Aat the start of the keynote, Plattner said he is focusing on the public cloud, as he believes “that’s where the future lies”, and that the “global datasphere” will only get bigger.

In a question and answer session with press and analysts, he said that while SAP has been “great on strategy, we need to be great at the details”. He gave an analogy car makers not getting details right, such as failing to provide coffee cup holders or seat-belt sockets for non-contortionists.

“We [SAP] have to work hard. Life will get harder for our people, as it was in the early days [of the company],” he said.

Hana plus

Behind the keynote was a range of enhancements to Hana. New SAP Hana cloud services will, the company said in a press statement, combine the in-memory technology of SAP Hana with data virtualisation to provide simplicity for data consumers and flexibility for data management.

“A data lake storage tier allows businesses to grow their data managed by [Hana] without any limits,” it added. “On-premise customers of [the database platform] are planned to benefit from the new cloud services as they can flexibly add capacity as needed”.

Kazmaier is the author of a summary of the updates on Hana and the SAP analytics cloud. In a company statement, SAP analytics cloud was said to “offer new visual formulas that let anyone in an organisation create planning scenarios and simulate models using domain language, making advanced collaborative enterprise planning easily accessible”.

“New integration with the SAP integrated business planning solution helps customers gain complete visibility across important KPIs [key performance indicators] in SAP digital boardroom,” the statement added.

In another development, SAP and OpenText are planning to extend SAP Cloud Platform with unstructured content. Immediate plans are to provide for enterprise-scale document management as a service on SAP Cloud Platform.

SAP also plans to embed further updates of SAP Leonardo technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and augmented analytics into business processes to provide real-time intelligence and insight.

The company announce the general availability of AWS IoT Core “as the connectivity and device management layer for IoT telemetry data that is relayed to SAP Leonardo IoT”. Additionally, SAP Leonardo IoT Edge gives customers the option to extend support for their business processes locally on top of AWS IoT Greengrass.

Read more about Hana at Sapphire

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

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